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Tanktop vs. Singlet: What's the Difference?

Edited by Harlon Moss || By Janet White || Updated on October 4, 2023
A tanktop is a sleeveless shirt with wide shoulder straps, while a singlet is often a more form-fitting, athletic sleeveless garment.

Key Differences

Tanktops and singlets are both sleeveless upper garments, but they serve different primary functions and styles. A tanktop is characterized by its wider shoulder straps and a more relaxed fit. It can be worn as a casual piece of clothing or as an undergarment. Tanktops are versatile and can be found in various materials, from cotton to synthetic blends, suitable for daily wear or even for a night out. Singlets, in comparison, have a more athletic origin.
The singlet, on the other hand, is usually more form-fitting and is designed for athletic purposes. It's the garment of choice for wrestlers, runners, and some weightlifters. Singlets typically have thinner straps, hug the body more closely, and are made of stretchy materials that move with the athlete. While they're primarily for sport, singlets have also found their way into fashion circles, especially in streetwear.
While both tanktops and singlets can be made of similar materials, the design and cut often differentiate them. A tanktop might be more breathable with a looser fit, making it ideal for hot days or lounging around. Singlets, due to their athletic nature, often have moisture-wicking properties and are designed to reduce chafing, providing optimal performance during physical activities.
Though the terms "tanktop" and "singlet" might sometimes be used interchangeably in casual conversation, especially in different regions or countries, their distinct characteristics and purposes set them apart. It's essential to consider the garment's function, fit, and design when distinguishing between them.

Comparison Chart

Primary Use

Casual wear or undergarment.
Athletic or sportswear.


Generally relaxed.

Strap Width

Wider straps.
Thinner straps.


Casual, various styles available.
Athletic, designed for specific sports.

Material Variance

Wide range, including cotton, synthetics.
Typically stretchy, moisture-wicking materials.

Tanktop and Singlet Definitions


A garment that can be both an outer and under piece.
Her lace tanktop peeked out from beneath her blazer.


Often used in sports like wrestling or running.
He set a new record in the 100m dash, wearing his lucky singlet.


A versatile upper garment without sleeves.
He layered his tanktop under a button-up shirt.


Designed to move with the athlete's body.
Her singlet was moisture-wicking, keeping her dry during the marathon.


A sleeveless shirt with wide shoulder straps.
She wore a floral tanktop to the summer festival.


An athletic, form-fitting sleeveless garment.
The wrestler wore a blue singlet to the match.


Typically has a U or scoop neckline.
The deep scoop of the tanktop flattered her necklace.


Sometimes adopted into street fashion styles.
The street dancer wore a neon singlet for his performance.


Often used for casual wear in warm weather.
The cotton tanktop kept him cool at the beach.


A sleeveless, tight-fitting undershirt or athletic shirt.


Alternative spelling of tank top


A tight-fitting, one-piece garment consisting of shorts and a sleeveless top with a collar that sometimes dips low on the chest, worn in wrestling.


(Physics) A multiplet with a single member.


A set of one, an item not part of a larger set, particularly


(physics) A multiplet having a single member, especially a single spectroscopic peak.


A quantum state having zero spin.


A person who does not have a form of multiplicity, i.e. a single persona occupying one human body.


A single piece of clothing, particularly


A sleeveless buttonless shirt with a low-cut neck.


(sports) A one-piece, tight-fitting uniform, usually made of spandex or nylon, required in wrestling and powerlifting.


An unlined or undyed waistcoat; a single garment; - opposed to doublet.


A collarless men's undergarment for the upper part of the body


A tight sleeveless shirt with thin shoulder straps.
The weightlifter's singlet showcased his toned arms.


Are singlets only for wrestling?

No, singlets are also used in running, weightlifting, and other sports.

Can a tanktop be used for sports?

Yes, but singlets are specifically designed for certain athletic activities.

Is a "wife-beater" the same as a tanktop?

The term "wife-beater" (which can be considered offensive) refers to a specific style of tanktop.

Can tanktops be worn by all genders?

Absolutely, tanktops are versatile and come in styles suitable for everyone.

Are all singlets tight-fitting?

Generally, yes. They're designed to be form-fitting for athletic purposes.

Why do singlets have thin straps?

Thin straps allow for better mobility.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.

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